, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 293–306 | Cite as

Optimization of culture conditions of Arnica montana L.: effects of mycorrhizal fungi and competing plants

  • Anna Jurkiewicz
  • Przemyslaw Ryszka
  • Teresa Anielska
  • Piotr Waligórski
  • Dobroslawa Białońska
  • Katarzyna Góralska
  • Merope Tsimilli-Michael
  • Katarzyna TurnauEmail author
Original Paper


Arnica montana is a rare plant that needs special protection because of its intensive harvesting for medicinal purposes. The present work was aimed at finding optimal culture conditions for Arnica plants in order to enable their successful reintroduction into their natural stands. Plants were cultivated under controlled greenhouse conditions on substrata with different nitrogen (N) concentration. As Arnica is always colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in nature, a fact that has been overlooked in other similar projects, we, here, applied and tested different inocula. We found that they differed in their effectiveness, both in establishing symbiosis, assessed by the colonization parameters, and in improving the performance of Arnica, evaluated by the photosynthetic parameters derived from the fluorescence transients (JIP-test), with the inocula containing G. intraradices or composed of several Glomus strains being the most effective. The comparison was possible only on substrata with medium N, since high N did not permit the formation of mycorrhiza, while at low N, few nonmycorrhizal plants survived until the measurements and mycorrhizal plants, which were well growing, exhibited a high heterogeneity. Analysis of secondary metabolites showed clearly that mycorrhization was associated with increased concentrations of phenolic acids in roots. For some of the inocula used, a tendency for increase of the level of phenolic acids in shoots and of sesquiterpene lactones, both in roots and in shoots, was also observed. We also studied the interactions between A. montana and Dactylis glomerata, known to compete with Arnica under field conditions. When specimens from both species were cultured together, there was no effect on D. glomerata, but Arnica could retain a photosynthetic performance that permitted survivability only in the presence of AMF; without AMF, the photosynthetic performance was lower, and the plants were eventually totally outcompeted.


Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus Phenolic Acid Mycorrhizal Fungus Mycorrhizal Colonization Mycorrhizal Plant 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors are grateful to MSc Katarzyna Piszczek (student of Jagiellonian University) for the help in culturing Arnica and doing pilot studies. This work was supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (grant number 2 P04G 109 28) in years 2005–2007. M. T-M acknowledges support by the Swiss National Science Foundation, project number 200021-116765.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Jurkiewicz
    • 1
  • Przemyslaw Ryszka
    • 2
  • Teresa Anielska
    • 2
  • Piotr Waligórski
    • 3
  • Dobroslawa Białońska
    • 2
  • Katarzyna Góralska
    • 2
  • Merope Tsimilli-Michael
    • 4
  • Katarzyna Turnau
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Molecular BiologyUniversity of ÅrhusÅrhus CDenmark
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental SciencesJagiellonian UniversityKrakówPoland
  3. 3.Institute of Plant Physiology of the Polish Academy of SciencesKrakówPoland
  4. 4.Bioenergetics LaboratoryUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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